Walter McDonald was born on 18 July 1934 in Lubbock, Texas. He graduated from Abilene Christian University and joined the US Air Force in 1957, taught English at the Air Force Academy and served as a pilot in Vietnam (1969-70). He retired as an Air Force major in 1971 and went on to found the Creative Writing programme at Texas Tech University, where he taught until 2002. In 2001 McDonald was named the Texas State Laureate.

McDonald is the author of twenty collections of poems, some of which reference his time in Vietnam.

After some of my friends went off to Vietnam, and one was shot down, then another, I felt a need to say something to them, or about them. […] Flying, and a war I went to briefly, are two of about five regions that I keep prowling; they’re my background, part of what I am. Walt McDonald, 1999

Walter McDonald’s Poems

You can find more poems on the Poetry Foundation site

Resources for Walter McDonald

Interview with Darryl Tippens from the Valparaiso Poetry Review